Development of a comparative chimpanzee musculoskeletal glenohumeral model: implications for human function [RESEARCH ARTICLE]

Kathleen F. E. MacLean and Clark R. Dickerson

Modern human shoulder function is affected by the evolutionary adaptations that have occurred to ensure survival and prosperity of the species. Robust examination of behavioral shoulder performance and injury risk can be holistically improved through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates anthropology and biomechanics. Coordination of these fields can allow different perspectives to contribute to a more complete interpretation of biomechanics of the modern human shoulder. The purpose of this study was to develop a novel biomechanical and comparative chimpanzee glenohumeral model, designed to parallel an existing human glenohumeral model, and compare predicted musculoskeletal outputs between the two models. The chimpanzee glenohumeral model consists of three modules – an external torque module, musculoskeletal geometric module, and an internal muscle force prediction module. Together, these modules use postural kinematics, subject specific anthropometrics, a novel shoulder rhythm, glenohumeral stability ratios, hand forces, musculoskeletal geometry, and an optimization routine to estimate joint reaction forces and moments, subacromial space dimensions, and muscle and tissue forces. Using static postural data of horizontal bimanual suspension task, predicted muscle forces and subacromial space were compared between chimpanzees and humans. Compared to chimpanzees, the human model predicted a 2mm narrower subacromial space, deltoid muscle forces that were often double those of chimpanzees and a strong reliance on infraspinatus and teres minor (60-100% maximal force) over other rotator cuff muscles. These results agree with previous work on inter-species differences that inform basic human rotator cuff function and pathology.

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